Saturday, October 3, 2009
FATHER DR. SLAVKO BARBARIC, THE SAINT OF MEDJUGORJE
The above photo is the best photo of Father Slavko that I could find in Medjugorje. I had this photo framed and it is now on my computer table. Although I have never met Father Slavko when he was alive, I will always remember him as one of the greatest heroes that ever lived. His dedication to the people of Medjugorje and to the world would never be forgotten. And to be frank, I really envy those who got the chance to meet him and to be with him in Medjugorje when he was still alive. When I went to Medjugorje in the year 2007, Father Slavko was already dead for seven years. If only I had been there seven years earlier... If only I could get the chance to help Father Slavko with his work... Oh, it seems that I am daydreaming again!
Who is Father Slavko? Well, I'll write a short biography of him here. He was born on 11 March 1946. He joined the Franciscan order at the age of 19 on 14 July 1965 and made his final vows on 17 September 1971. He was ordained a Franciscan priest on 10 December 1971.
Father Slavko was fluent in Croatian, English, French and Spanish. He studied at Sarajevo, Graz and Freiburg. He obtained his master's degree at Graz (Austria) and his doctorate in religious pedagogy (with the title of psychotherapist) at Freiburg. He was officially sent to Medjugorje in 1983. In Medugorje, he had been a great inspiration to millions of pilgrims. During his service in Medjugorje, he wrote numerous books that were translated into more than 20 languages. He has also written numerous articles in various publications. He was the editor of the St' Francis Bulletin and Glas Mira. He organized conferences for priests, pilgrims and youths. He has travelled to many parts of the world to spread the message of peace and reconciliation of Our Lady of Medjugorje. He founded Mother's Village - the home of war orphans, children from broken families, unwed mothers and elderly people who have been abandoned by their family members. His knowledge of psychotherapy also enabled him to help the drug addicts in the Cenacolo Community.
Every Friday, he faithfully led pilgrims to the top of Mount Krizevac to celebrate The Way of the Cross. On 24 November 2000, he celebrated the Way of the Cross on Krizevac Mountain as usual. As he was descending Mount Krizevac, he stopped near the Resurrection Station and blessed the pilgrims who had climbed with him. That was where he collapsed and died of a heart attack.
In his short life span of 54 years, he has done so much for Medjugorje and for the Church. He spent every moment of his life serving God and serving us. He did not live for himself but for all of us. He gave so much of himself and truly he is one of the greatest heroes of our time. I thank God for giving us this great hero. I will always adore, respect and honour him. To me, he is a saint. I'll remember him fondly all my life. Sometimes I light candles for him. Whenever I say the Croatian Rosary, I will look at Father Slavko's photo and ask him to join me in my rosary prayers. And I am proud to say that I can say the Croatian Rosary very well now.
Priesthood is a wonderful gift won by the price of Christ's blood. The priestly call is a personal call from God on His chosen ones. And who are these chosen ones? Those who willingly give themselves completely to God and to men. Those who willingly devote all their time to Christ as Paul did. Father Slavko had willingly given himself completely to God and to men and devoted all his time to live the life of Christ. And that's why I am writing about him here. I want the whole world to know about our priest hero and the saint of Medjugorje.